Guide to the Weekend: Memorial Day Edition
Written by Bwog Staff
Tomorrow kicks off Memorial Day weekend, and the city is likely to fill up with tourists while New York locals try to skip town anyway—and anywhere—they can. Bwog’s doing our part to help you out by suggesting a few public transportation-friendly, relatively close beaches.
Beach: Belmar Beach, NJ
How to Get There: Take the NJ Transit New Jersey North Jersey Coast Line from Penn Station. The train stops at Belmar, but it’s about a fifteen to twenty minute walk through Victorian-style neighborhoods to the beach from the train station.
Duration of Transit: 1.5 – 2 hours
Dining Options: Ice cream, hot dogs, chicken fingers and the like are available right on the beach. For dinner, go to Klein’s Seafood Market. It’s right on the water, and though the live music features mostly poorly-performed reggae-influenced classic rock covers, it’s bearable when you sit outside by the wharf. The seafood is fresh and delicious, and priced fairly reasonably.
What’s To Do: There’s not too much to do in the way of boardwalk activities, so bring a book and an iPod. There’s a gift shop or two that sell clothing, sunblock, and waterproof cameras, but that’s about it. In terms of swimming, the water’s still fairly cold, so bring accessories for non-aquatic fun like Frisbees or cigarettes/flasks.
Fellow Beach Patron Hook-Up Potential: The crowd was mostly older (40-year-olds with their children) and native Jersey high-schoolers. So, not very high, unless that’s your bag.
Unofficial Bruce Springsteen Song: “Kitty’s Back”
Beach: Wildwood State Park
How to get there: Take the LIRR to Riverhead, and then hitch a ride to Wildwood (Long Islanders are friendly! But you should do it with a friend, and look for minivans). Here’s a map of the area.
Duration of Transit: Kind of a long time–like 2-3 hours depending on transfers–but it’s a nice ride, especially if you haven’t been out on the Island before.
What to do: No swimming until June 22, but it’s an idyllic beach for campfires, fishing, frisbee, and watching large clans of locals grill burgers and pretend to like each other. Children abound, but you can avoid them by striking out on one of the trails from the beach through sun-dappled forests to the camping area. If you’ve got a night, staying over is the best use of your time.
Fellow Beach Patron Hook-Up Potential: The crowd tends more to the aging and overweight, so it’s best to bring one with you. It’s worth the effort–the beach empties out further down after about 6pm, which makes for the best hook-up spot a kid could want.
Unofficial Bruce Springsteen Song: “Rosalita”
Beach: Point Pleasant (5 minutes away from me!)
How to get there: Take NJ Transit to Brick (I think the 139 bus) or take the NJ Transit New Jersey North Jersey Coast Line from Penn Station. The train stops a Point Pleasant, and it’s a pleasant 5 minutes walk to the shore.
Duration of Travel: Basically the same for Belmar. The beaches for Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Belmar, and Brielle are all pretty close to each other.
Dining Options: Typical board walk food (funnel cake, fried oreos, ice cream) but you MUST MUST MUST go to Hoffman’s Ice Cream Parlor. (800 Richmond Avenue) On summer nights, the line is huge, but it is so worth it.
What to do: What is there NOT to do? It’s the boardwalk! Swimming! Rides! Boardwalk games! There’s even an aquarium as well as the very seedy but popularly beach bar “Jenks.”
Fellow Beach Patron Hook-Up Potential: High schoolers, senior citizens, bennys from Long Island, and Indian American college students returning to their roots. Of the listed beaches, the hook up potential is actually pretty high at PP.
Unofficial Bruce Springsteen Song: “Thunder Road”
Beach: Davis Park, Fire Island, NY
How to Get there: Take the LIRR from Penn Station to Patchogue via the Montauk line. Then it’s a short walk down West Avenue to the Davis Park Ferry Landing.
Yes, you take a ferry. Davis Park, and the entirety of Fire Island for that matter, is a spit of land off the coast of Long Island. It’s basically a big sand bar and you can easily pretend you’re in international waters. Don’t be alarmed by the open bottle policy on the ferry; I promise it will be the best ten minutes of your summer.
Total travel time: 1 hour and forty five to two hours. Including the ferry.
Dining options: Casino Cafe: it’s a little pricey, but it’s right on the beach. Better to do a picnic for lunch and catch sunset drinks here. The clientele is superb, beach bums, salts of the sea, sorority girls…
What to do: There’s a lovely boardwalk that courses the length of the island. You’ll pass numerous Irish flags, a Catholic Church, a marina, a campsite, a state park and eventually you’ll find yourself in The Pines, a far more upscale and image-conscious enclave. But, if you’re more in the mood for low key relaxing, the beach at Davis Park is wide and flat, perfect for spreading a sheet and taking a snooze. And if you’re of fair complexion, the beach front houses are on stilts and offer plenty of shade.
Fellow Beach Front Hook-up Potential: You’ll probably be offered a beer or two by your neighbors. Depending on how many you take, you could easily find yourself a beach beau.
Unofficial Bruce Springsteen Song: “Mary’s Place”